Here We Are: Feminism For the Real World
edited by Kelly Jensen
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Algonquin BFYR
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
Let’s get the feminist party started!
Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.
Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.
I love that the tag line for Here We Are is “Let’s Get This Feminist Party Started!” because it is such a perfect embodiment of what this scrapbook-style anthology is. Here We Are is a diverse, inclusive celebration of feminism. This is not a book that delves into certain feminist arguments or hyper-focuses on very specific points. It is broad, and it is very much an introduction, but that’s what makes it so great.
Feminism is made up of flawed humans, so feminism is of course too flawed. Here We Are does a great job of balancing various intersections of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and class, and pointing out how historically, feminism has not been for all women–but we can make it so now. It is positive and upbeat while dealing with serious issues.
Here We Are is one of those books that is a light in the dark. I loved every minute I spent reading this anthology, though I’m not even sure anthology is the proper word for a work in which poetry, essays, playlists, art, and comics are mixed so flawlessly together. There is so much room at the table, y’all, and it shows in Here We Are. Some of the pieces are reprints from famous feminist collections, like Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist, but they still manage to be effortlessly integrated into the larger whole.
It’s hard to say that there are particular stand-out pieces in Here We Are, because they’re all so good. That being said, while I think everything is equal in quality, certain pieces resonated more emotionally with me. I felt encouraged by Angie Manfredi’s “The Big Blue Ocean and My Big Fat Body”, comforted by Jessica Luther’s “A Feminist Love“, related much too well to Ashley Hope Perez’s “Tips for Recovering Nice Girl Feminists“, and was so damn inspired by Wendy Davis’ “The Win that Comes from Losing”.
Here We Are is a celebration of “girl power” without being cheesy. Here We Are is a celebration of “girl power” without being exclusive. Give this to the young feminist in your life, the old feminist in your life, and those that aren’t ready to take on the term for themselves.
A+, stand out work. One of the better anthologies I’ve read in years, and I could tell just how much heart went into it. Cannot wait to buy this for so many of the women I know as birthday and holiday gifts. 5/5 cupcakes.